CSH held the 2nd annual Supportive Housing Academy in Illinois from May 12 - 16th. Over 50 attendees representing four states participated in this week long training seminar, focused on both leasing and developing quality supportive housing. Topics ranged from providing services to coordinating key partners to financing supportive housing. Guest speakers and panelists were brought in to budgeting, IL consent decrees, and tenant leadership.
Victor Ponce with Heartland Health Outreach was moved by the tenant leadership panel including two supportive housing tenants, Johnna Lowe from the Supportive Housing Provider Association, and facilitated by Christine Haley with CSH. He commented that "the immense and crucial value of tenant involvement in is an absolute essential to having good supportive housing. I plan to eventually rally tenants to create a Tenant Council/Board."
On May 14th, the group spent the afternoon touring supportive housing, visiting Grove Apartments in Oak Park, developed by Interfaith Housing Development Corporation; New Moms Transformation Center Housing (TCH) on Chicago's West side; and Renaissance Social Services, Inc. in Wicker Park.
Kim Wynette of the New Foundation Center is new to her position an came to this training to learn content and skills that she will be able to immediately apply to her work. “The Academy impacted me with a deeper understanding of the many layers of Supportive Housing," Kim reported after the conclusion of this action packed week.
"My group is very excited about further exploring the idea of putting tenant-centric PSH in place," Developer Chandler Anderson from Trio Consulting commented. "I especially enjoyed the point by point presentation of the typical process and the wide ranging factors that need careful consideration. Additionally, to see the approach operating in the real world during our tour was very reassuring."
When asked why CSH is committed to the Academy, CSH Illinois Director Betsy Benito offered, "We want to ensure there is a pipeline of supportive housing to meet the deep needs of communities across Illinois; break down the myths of creating and operating supportive housing – in a variety of integrated models; and demonstrate the success both on the financial and social bottom line. We need supportive housing more than ever to respond to those living in streets and shelter and inappropriately housed in institutions."